Update April 21, 2020
As you read this, know that our hearts go out to you and your loved ones during this unusual and difficult time.
Losing someone dear to us is among the most emotionally charged moments of a person’s life experiences. In this actual context of pandemic, the grieving process is even more complex and difficult to live through because of the necessary restrictions that are being imposed on families. Families find themselves alone, isolated, missing the support of their community, sometimes postponing religious and celebration of life gatherings.
Here is what you need to know regarding the services we are allowed to offer during this period of confinement:
- The Public Health Department and the Ministry of Health and Social Services have confirmed that currently funeral rituals can take place in funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoriums, as they are recognized as essential services.
- The ban on gathering of more than two (2) people does NOT apply to funeral rituals. Social distancing of 2 meters must be applied, but the maximum of people is not imposed by the authority. Therefore, we have to limit access to the immediate family and small groups in rotation if necessary.
- For deceased persons who died without COVID-19, all rituals are permitted for the immediate family.
- We have to impose the ban of access from visitors who have travelled, who have symptoms, in isolation, or in close contact with a Covid-19 carrier or patient.
- We are serving one family at a time. The preventative instructions are implemented at our funeral facilities. We ask visitors to wash their hands upon arrival and departure. Our facilities are constantly being disinfected to limit the propagation of the disease.
- Most cemeteries are imposing a limit of 10 people at the gravesite, including the funeral director, pallbearers, clergy and family members.
- The witness of the initial cremation process is allowed based on the crematorium availability.
- Church funeral services are prohibited until further notice from the Health authorities.
- Food and beverage services are suspended for now.
- We have temporarily suspended our limousine services to respect social distancing.
- We can film or record private rituals to make available to those who cannot attend the gathering. Music, special readings, sharing stories remain possible to bring us closure even when distancing is required.
- At the moment, the instructions received from the Department of Public Health for a person who dies from COVID-19, confirmed or potential, to the funeral professionals are that washing, disinfecting, embalming, dressing, cosmeticizing and hairdressing are prohibited.
- The deceased person can be laid out, closed casket, in our funeral home for maximum 3 hours as soon as possible following the death. This period can be followed by the burial in a cemetery or cremation.
- It is possible to have a service or perform other rituals in our funeral home or at the cemetery.
- It is prohibited to open the casket as no presentation manipulations are allowed on the deceased person and physical contact with the deceased is prohibited.
- Bio-cremation (aquamation) and crypt entombment are prohibited.
- Cremation is permitted and the planning of a gathering at a later date is recommended.
- We encourage funeral planning at the time of death or in pre-planning to be done by teleconference or by telephone, but we are also available to meet you in person by appointment only with up to 2 family members.
- In order to prevent contamination of our staff members and other clients, we impose teleconference or telephone meeting for people who have travelled, have flu symptoms or who have been in contact with a COVID-19 person diagnosed or waiting for results or showing signs of infection.
For us, funeral professionals, this situation is difficult as we want to assist you and allow you to grieve appropriately regardless of all the constraints imposed upon all of us. We are doing everything in our power to stay healthy in order to be able to take care of you and your loved ones. We also want to make sure you will stay healthy and that you don’t put yourself at risk. We continue our mission of service and to serve our clientele with kindness and compassion. We’re here, for you, during this difficult time as we walk with you on your journey.
The following is an article published in Le Soleil de Québec by one of the ambassadors of the funeral service industry of Quebec.
For more information and updates from the Public Health Department:
COVID-19: Mesures de prévention et de protection pour les entreprises de services funéraires (INSPQ_2020-04-20)